Some pictures of my A8R32-MVP with Ninja:
Here you can see:
* well-positioned CPU socket close to case fan and 120mm PSU fan
* just visible one of the aluminium heatsinks on the CPU power regulator MOSFETs to the left of the Ninja - these MOSFETs will be well cooled by the case fan
* plenty of clearance between the bottom side of the Ninja and the graphics card slot, basically there is plenty of space around the ATI NB (with its passive cooler)
* as a consequence the top expansion card space is empty: there is not even a PCI-Express x1 slot there
* there would therefore almost certainly be enough room for a graphics card with a passive cooler on the rear face (top)
* awkward position of the PCI-Express x1 slot: it would be unusable with a double-width graphics card in the primary PCI-Express x16 slot
* bizarre position of the fifth SATA port - I've put a red SATA cable in it to show just how weird it is. (There is also a sixth SATA port on the back panel, with an eSATA type connector.)
Note that the passive heatsink on the northbridge has vanes oriented for airflow from bottom to top, not right to left. It obviously is intended to get some spillover airflow from a CPU cooler of the standard 'flower' type. Unfortunately this is not ideal with a passive CPU cooler for example the Ninja or anything based mainly on right-to-left airflow from the case fan. Therefore the northbridge heatsink becomes quite hot with the Ninja, I would say at least 60 degrees. It is still stable in my system up to at least 270MHz bus speed (x5 Hypertransport bus multiplier = 1350MHz Hypertransport bus speed: that is fast
), I have not tried higher. I have not tried removing and re-orienting that northbridge heatsink.
You can see how, apart from that fifth SATA port (which most people probably would not use), all the connectors are positioned neatly around the edge of the board: the bundle of small wires on the left hand side above the video card is the front panel audio connectors (my case has a front panel cable with untidy looking spare single-pin connectors for non-standard audio headers on motherboards, fortunately this one is standard). The front panel audio cable is running under the motherboard - this is the first board where I've been able to do that. All the IEEE1394 and USB headers are at the bottom edge of the motherboard, the fat grey wires go to the IEEE1394 sockets backplate in the second-from-bottom slot - done that way round so that my RAID card can take the bottom slot for neater routing of SATA cables.
Incidentally, you do all know that black computers are faster
? Here the case, motherboard and graphics card are all black.
Here you can see the clearance problem with the Ninja and the 'A' memory slots (the blue ones). It is the thumb-latch for the Ninja's clip that gets in the way. You have to use the 'B' memory slots (the black ones). In practice I'm not aware of any speed or stability difference between the 'A' and the 'B' memory slots on this motherboard although frankly my G-Skill ZX PC3200 memory is not the best to test this with. But I think you would have difficulties trying to install 4GB of RAM in this motherboard with a Ninja.
This shows a (short) graphics card installed in the secondary PCI-Express x16 slot. You can see the well-positioned Southbridge which would not be snagged by a long graphics card in either the top or bottom PCI-Express x16 slot. This Crossfire board is clearly designed sensibly to allow for the possibility of actually using two monster graphics cards.
Edited to add paragraph about the northbridge heatsink